Readings for Times of Loss
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity for loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” Leo Tolstoy
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Helen Keller
“We are only alive to the degree that we can let ourselves be moved.” Lewis Hyde
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Kahlil Gibran
“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.“ Washington Irving
“Let my hidden weeping arise and blossom.” Rainer Maria Rilke
“Love is stronger than death…. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” Song of Solomon 8.7
“God, I am grateful for everything. I shall live on with that part of the dead that lives for ever, and I shall rekindle into life that of the living which is now dead, until there is nothing but life, one great life, oh God.” Etty Hillesum
“Go ahead. Arrange and rearrange the stones on top of your beloved’s grave. Keep arranging those stones for as long as it hurts to do it. then stop, just before you really want to. Put the last stone on and walk away. Then light your candles to the living. Say your prayers for the living. Give your flowers to the living…True love demands that, like a bride with her bouquet, you toss
your fragile glass heart into the waiting crowd of living hands and trust that they will catch it.” Kate Braestrup
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahlil Gibran
“In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered most holy…. The prayers of those who grieve are considered especially strong, and it is proper to ask them for their help. You might recall what it’s like to be with someone who has grieved deeply….For the time being, he or she has accepted the reality of loss and has stopped clinging to the past or grasping at the
future. In the groundless openness of sorrow, there is a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.” Tara Brach
“I found in my memory and imagination what I had lost in grief.” Amy Tan
“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” Kahlil Gibran
“Death is not a departing from life, but a returning to its Heart.” J. Philip Newell
“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.” C.S. Lewis
“We never really get over devastating loss. In the thick of it, we almost stop breathing; sometimes even wishing we could. And we know deep within that we will never be the same. Yet, one day we feel the sun on our face again. We find ourselves smiling at a child or a joke or a memory. And at that moment, we realize we are finding our way back. Changed forever? Yes. But also softer, deeper, more vulnerable and more loving too. And we are breathing again.” Paul
“I believe the future of our world depends greatly on the manner in which we handle our grief.” Sobonfu Some
“If you haven’t already, you will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken; and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of a beloved person. But this is also the good news. They live forever, in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through.” Anne Lamott
He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it. Turkish Proverb
“It is healthy and honorable to weep at the loss of someone we love. Healthy because such passion must be released. Honorable because it is respectful to admit the importance of people who have loved and supported us… people whose footprints cannot ever be matched.” Maya Angelou
When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left. Sufi Proverb
A Litany of Remembrance (by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer)
In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, For they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
-compiled by Jean E. Greenwood
“Grieving a Death During the Pandemic” MPR Interview with Ted Bowman, Rev. Ron Bell, and Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman
Some Guidelines for Grief Care During the Coronavirus Outbreak
1) Monitor your own health and follow health department guidelines
2) Check-in on some of your family and friends during these days, even some with whom you have not recently connected. Say something like, hello, just sending my care during these days.
3) Practice differing ways of grief care during these days. Consider adding other care practices because so many typical outlets may be unavailable, cancelled, or unwise for health reasons. Consider: music, prayer, pray for others, get outside if your own health permits, take notice of small pleasures (cup of tea or coffee, sun coming through your window, an hour of quiet, complete a small task, comfort food, talk to a friend via phone, write a note, remember with tears and smiles someone who has died.
4) Review recent Downtown Grief Coalition sessions: what did someone say in a group that you want to “hang onto” and use today…or something one of the speakers said that was helpful.
5) What advice would you give to another grieving person? In other words, if you were the speaker, what would you say to fellow grievers?
6) Be aware of what is not canceled because of the coronavirus, including:
Getting Outdoors: NOT CANCELED
Music: NOT CANCELED
Family: NOT CANCELED
Reading: NOT CANCELED
Singing: NOT CANCELED
Taxes: NOT CANCELED
Laughing: NOT CANCELED
Hope: NOT CANCELED
Let’s Embrace What We Have.
7) Whatever your beliefs are, lean on the best of them these days. Know that nothing separates us from God’s love.
Our Response to TraumaFrom Jennifer Yaeger, licensed professional counselor and the owner and clinical director of Sea Glass Therapy in Newnan, Georgia
Living through this pandemic is a trauma, and parts of our brain have shut down as a coping mechanism. With our brain’s response to the trauma, we are not able to fully process what is going on around us. This may lead to feeling numb, out of touch with emotions, anxious or depressed. Additionally, our brains are wired to use past experiences to help us predict what will happen next. During this time, as the word navigates the uncertainty of COVID 19, our brains are unable to pull from past experiences to make sense of it all. This is new for all of us and we don’t have past experience to rely on.Here are some tips to help you handle the uncertainty and anxiety:1) Be patient and kind with yourself when you are feeling down.2) Have empathy for others who may be struggling and may not always be their best selves right now – my personal favorite. We need to give each other grace in these difficult times.3) Name it. If you’re feeling sad, down, nervous, angry …. say it, express it!4) Don’t fight what you feel. Give yourself a time limit and for that time limit embrace how you’re feeling and then do your best to move on.5) Try something new. Prepare a recipe, take a walk, meditate or breath.6) Bring something back. We all have things that we used to do that we loved that we lost time for along the way – bring it back. This is a great way to relax and can lift our spirits
Jenny Schroedel—Grief and COVID-19 https://youtu.be/T2quYkhQCjY
Ted Bowman—Grief and COVID-19
TEDTalk – Minneapolis author Nora McInerny
Harvard Business Review article-Grief and the pandemic